Oulton Park

As well as having the steepest banked corner in the UK (in the form of the Shell Oils; which is banked at 11 degrees) Oulton Park is also the second longest circuit, with only Silverstone Grand Prix stretching further. Opened in 1953, the circuit has been owned and operated by various companies over the years and since being purchased by Motorsport Vision in 2004, it has never looked better. Hosting several major events throughout the year, including British Superbikes and British Touring Car Championship, the highlight has to be the Gold Cup. In years gone by, the Gold cup has been attended by many big named drivers, with Sir Stirling Moss picking up five wins.

The circuit's natural undulations and blind crests make this one of the most challenging circuits in Europe both feared and revered by drivers on two wheels or four. There is very little run-off anywhere, so take your time! It is unlikely you will master the circuit on your first visit. The start and finish straight (ironic in name, given that it is anything but) leads to the first corner: Old Hall. On approach, there is a seam in the tarmac that runs along the edge of the circuit, about a foot wide. Follow this all the way from the breaking point to where the seam meets the main track and grass then ease the car into the apex, right by the drain. Try to avoid the kerb, as it is a cowpat type. From the apex, get back on the power and run all the way out to the exit. Be careful of the compression at the apex. The run through the Avenue, which is the fast right kink, is very scary as it is blind and the circuit falls away even more than you first realise. It's important to turn the car in just before the brow and apex adjacent to the Marshals' box. Braking for Cascades is tricky, but it is imperative to either brake before or after the drop in the road. Annoyingly, the bump is probably about the right place to brake, but that's not an option as it will either cause you to lock up or, if you have ABS, for that to engage; neither of which makes for a balanced car at the turn in. I would suggest braking slightly earlier, to enable a smooth turn-in and allow you to get back on the power as soon as possible. The turn-in point is at the start of the escape road. The apex is a long way around the corner, about two-thirds of the way along the kerb. Again, don't use the kerb as it is a cowpat type.

The long run down Lakeside to Island undulates and makes it tricky to see the corner until you are much further down the straight. Once again a braking point is hard to pick, but the turn-in is at the start of the Island Hairpin road, on the right hand side and from the turn-in you should be looking to the kerb on the inside, as your apex is right at the end of it. Try not to let the car run out too far on the exit, as there is not a great deal of space to get back to the left for Shell Oils. This means you will have to brake straight across the track as you come back from the right; the turn in point just after the marshals' box works well, as the extreme camber of the corner means you can carry a good amount of speed in and hold the car down at a low apex before aiming out of the corner, looking towards the kerb exiting as straight as you can, just before the crest. There is a slight right kink in the road just before the Brittan's Chicane that means you approach from the left and hold to the right after the apex to give you an easy approach to the chicane. To be quick through here you must use a lot of the kerb on the left so that you can open the second part of the chicane (taking care not to clip the tyres at the right hand side) and then use a small amount of the kerb on the left on the exit. The run up and over Hilltop precedes the fast approach to the Knickerbrook chicane there are the 200 and 100 markers. Braking about half way between the two and a very late turn-in to make the first part tight, will allow you to open up the second part of the chicane. Before the right part of Knickerbrook, bring the car back to the left as far as you can. The turn-in is just before the end of the grass on your left. Take a small amount of the kerb at the apex, just after the small crest in the road, then let the car run all the way out to the left towards the kerb.

This leads to the steep uphill climb of Clay Hill. As you head up the hill, you can't fail to notice the Advan Bridge. You should aim to go under the letters VA in the word ADVAN then look straight ahead towards the tree line. Looking at this you should aim for the tallest tree, which will take you to the right-hand side of the track, where there is a small access road. You should turn in to the left hander of Water Tower at this access road. There is an apex kerb on the left-hand side, but do not use this as it is very unsettling for most cars. Keeping to the left and braking in a straight line for Druids the turn point is the seam that runs across the track. Now, there are two ways to deal with Druids, depending on your car. The first is to ignore the first apex and aim solely for the second one. The other way is to take both the first and second. This depends on your car and setup. From the second apex, let the car run out, but be very careful with the throttle application, as many a driver have fallen foul of the exit kerb and crest just on the exit of the corner. The run down to the final corner of the lap is very undulating and like Island, make it tricky to actually see where you're going. Pick a braking point near the arrow board and turn-in very late. Once you have turned the car in, the apex is between the two floppy markers on the inside of the corner. Be careful with the power, but let the car run out to the left of the track; being careful not to overrun onto the grass. The final corner of the lap is Deer Leap. Be very careful of the painted grid hatchings if it's wet.

Words kindly provided by Jamie Stanley.

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